Dreams and Wedding Dresses

I think every little girl dreams of her wedding day in some aspect or another.  Growing up there always were items in our home and my grandparents that had been passed down through generations.  Whether that was a pair of pearl earrings or an antique bed that had been my grandfathers in the 1920s, these types of items were always there, holding stories of our heritage.  Because of this, my dreams for my wedding day included heirloom pearls and parts of my mother’s wedding dress.  Sadly, her dress was long gone when it was time for me to get married.

As I became a mother, the idea of having my wedding dress available for my daughter to use, or at least see became rather ingrained in my legacy loving heart.  I wanted so strongly to hold on to items that would allow our children to physically see and touch their history that I forgot that legacy and love are not found in the things.  They are found in the words, in the stories, and in our actions.  It took something unimaginable happening to remind me of this.

A Lost Bridal Box

We recently relocated to a new city and while we have moved frequently, we have never lost a whole box before.  The moving truck had been delayed for two weeks and we were very excited to have our home put back together again, even if they were delivering it on our wedding anniversary.

The day was extremely hot and a bit stressful, as moving tends to be.  The driver finished unloading the truck and he and Jason were going through final paperwork, only to realize that there was one box missing.  I briefly overheard them discussing which one it might be, as they slowly searched through the house to find it.  I asked Jason which box it was and could tell it wasn’t good.  It was my wedding dress.

Losing my Wedding Dress

Losing my wedding dress was one of the best things that could have happened to me.  Nothing can be better for a person when they are asked to examine their heart and their beliefs about things and people.  I loved my dress!  I felt like a princess in it and was devastated that they had lost it.  Initially, I kept telling myself that it was in one of the larger boxes and that they had miss placed it or miss labeled it.

Later, I became angry and heartbroken.  Angry that I hadn’t gotten more portraits in it to really tell the story of who I was then, who we were then.  Heartbroken that my daughter had been robbed of the option to ever really see that dress.  Later as the week progressed and I came to realize it was no where in the house . . I finally broke down and cried in Jason’s arms.

Losing my dress wasn’t some epic event.  It wasn’t the end of the world but it did sting.  So, I cried and my husband did what he does best.  He fixed it . . with his words and his kind heart.  He said, “I will go to the ends of the earth if it means finding that dress for you again.”  Then he slowed danced with me in our new house and reminded me that having that dress or not having that dress didn’t alter his memory of me walking down the aisle.  It didn’t alter the joy filled stories we would tell our kids about how we met.

Love isn’t Found in the Things

Losing my dress made me examine where my heart was.  So often we get so wrapped up in what dress we will wear or the perfect color palette for our day and we forget that love isn’t found in the things.  Love is found in the moments when we are at our ugliest and at our worst and our spouse comes along side us and loves us anyway.  Love isn’t created because of a perfect wedding or flashy proposal.  Love is found in the ordinary and the every day.

The depth of his willingness and commitment to find this thing that I had lost served as a reminder of what should look like.  I may have lost my wedding dress but I fell in love even more with my husband because of it.


Over the past week I drove up to Virginia to photograph a wedding.  I had an opportunity to stop by our old house and pick up some of our mail.  On a whim I asked our landlord if they would just check the house for me to see if my dress was there.  I didn’t think it would be.  After all the moving company said they had it on the truck.  What a shock it was when the landlord called me back to tell me they had found my dress.  It doesn’t change my viewpoint but it was an unexpected blessing for them to find it a month later.

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First Visit to CharlestonA Weekend in Charleston

Visiting Charleston for the first time last month was amazing and I have to say it was love at first sight.  Jess Capozzola came with me and we spent Friday location scouting at Magnolia Plantation for the wedding the following day.  People probably thought we were crazy because every corner we turned, we would ooh and ahh at the pretty golden light or how perfect the gardens were for portraits.  The plantation is absolutely stunning.

Rainbow Row

After spending the morning at Magnolia we headed out to the iconic Pineapple fountain at the Waterfront Park to meet up with Suzy and Dave Matthews.  Suzy and Dave are one of my first MRP couples and it was such a joy to see them again.  When Suzy heard we were coming to Charleston, she asked if we would take her maternity pictures in one of her most favorite cities.  While I don’t normally take maternity sessions, I do make an exception for past brides as a way to document their continued legacy and growth as a family.  Since Suzy is familiar with the city, we let her be our guide as she took us around Rainbow Row, the French Quarter, and down near the Battery.  After her session we went out to dinner with them at Poogan’s Porch.  The food was absolutely delicious and was only topped by our dessert at Kaminsky’s.  Both places are a must to visit when you are in Charleston.

Magnolia Plantation

Filled with peacocks and one of the oldest gardens in America, Magnolia is breathtaking with its sprawling gardens, bridges and is the perfect backdrop for a wedding.  We loved capturing Natalie and Matt’s day there.  When we made a stop there earlier on Friday, we got to meet Harold.  Harold was strutting back and forth in front of the door of the gift shop and squawking at the ladies inside.  She finally came out to feed him popcorn to which he was most indignant that it was not peanuts, his favorite.  He ate a few of the offered treats and then marched off in search of someone else to feed him peanuts.

The French Quarter

We headed back to the French Quarter on Sunday morning to meet up with Kate and Tyler for their engagement session.  It was so much fun to explore the beautiful streets with them.  I swear even the alley ways in Charleston are decorated with plants and window boxes.  Afterwards we made one last food stop at the Bakehouse for breakfast before taking one last stroll through the Charleston Market.  I have to say if you have a chance, their Honey Lavender Lattes are fantastic.  Until next time Charleston!Magnolia Plantation BridgeA walk through Rainbow RowPeacock at Magnolia PlantationBike Rentals in CharlestonPortrait at Magnolia Plantation


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Two Rivers Marine WeddingMarine Country Club Wedding

It was a perfectly sunny day for a July wedding at the Two Rivers Country Club.  Kate got ready with family and friends as they sipped mimosa’s and chatted about past adventures together.  Kate slipped away to read a sweet note from Tyler after getting into her beautifully beaded Sottero gown from Urban Set Bride.  The emotions began to flow as she headed to her first look with Tyler.  She walked through the beautiful marigolds and tapped her Marine on the shoulder.  As he turned around, the tears welled up with joy at seeing each other.

As guests arrived to their ceremony overlooking the water, the cutest little usher directed them to their seats.  Amidst sunshine and sunflowers, Kate walked down the aisle to her smiling groom.  The shared their handwritten vows and exchanged rings as Tyler got a little choked up.  This day had been anxiously awaited by both amidst multiple cross country visits and deployments.  With a big kiss she became Mrs. Chauvin or “Mrs. Gumbo” as the groomsmen lovingly referred to her during the reception, as Tyler hails from Louisiana.

With a toast from Mr. McBeath of “Laissez les bons temps rouler”, the reception began with dinner and lots of dancing.  Kate had told me repeatedly throughout the day that it felt like it was all just going to fast.  We know that feeling all to well and when she mentioned it during her sunset portraits, we made sure to carve out a little time for her and Tyler to just soak in the moment of being newly married as they watched the sun set over the James River, wrapped in each others arms.Two Rivers Marine Weddingblue bridesmaids dress Marine WeddingEmotional moment with mother of the brideRed headed bride in Maggie Sottero gownCountry club wedding on the riverSunflowers and Marine WeddingIconic Bridal Portrait in Maggie Sottero GownMarine groomsmen getting readyBlack and White Classic Image of MarineBride and Bridesmaids Headed to First LookFirst look in garden with MarineBridal party in blue and Marine dress bluesBridal party in blue and Marine dress bluesBridal party in blue and Marine dress bluesCountry Club Wedding SummerCountry Club Wedding SummerRing bearer and flower girl in whiteCountry Club Ballroom WeddingBride and groom portraitsFirst dance country club marine weddingFirst dance country club marine weddingWedding cake marine corps topperWedding cake marine corps topperWedding cake marine corps topperFather daughter dance


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Charleston King Street Engagement SessionCharleston Engagement Session

While in Charleston for a wedding, we met up with Kate and Tyler for their engagement session.  As we walked around King Street and the French Quarter, they shared how they met in Norfolk where Tyler had been stationed at the time and how between his duty stations and her being away at college, they had frequently had a long distance relationship.  Hearing their story, it was just perfect that Tyler had proposed to Kate at the Indianapolis airport as she came to pick him up for a visit.

Both professed foodies, they shared some of the local places they had visited while in Charleston for the weekend and how excited they were to visit Rainbow Row later that day.  Having recently returned from deployment, it seemed the perfect relaxing weekend for them leading into getting ready for their wedding later that week.  We loved how Tyler made Kate laugh and put her at ease with silly things whispered in her ears that produced such genuine giggles.  We can’t wait to share their wedding images later next week filled with sunflowers and romantic sunset images.

Charleston King Street Engagement SessionCharleston King Street Engagement SessionCharleston King Street Engagement SessionCharleston King Street Engagement Session

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Peacock teal wedding with gold accents on shoes

Magnolia Plantation Peacock Wedding

We arrived in Charleston before Natalie and Matt’s wedding at Magnolia Plantation to have time to walk the grounds of its historic gardens and home.  We were instantly charmed by its spanish moss draped trees and rather vocal peacocks.  One in particular stood watch at the front of the house as he waited, hoping for some peanuts.  Natalie hadn’t originally planned to have as many teal elements in her wedding but as she got closer to the wedding date, her gorgeous wedding shoes took her down a path of one of the most beautifully laid out color palettes I have seen this month.

A Morning in Charleston

The morning of the wedding, Natalie and her sweet bridesmaids got ready in the elegant Planter’s Inn, in the heart of downtown Charleston and just a few blocks from where she and Matt had their first look at Waterfront Park.  From there everyone headed to Magnolia Plantation for a sweet ceremony with handcrafted vows and an impromptu salute to Matt being a pilot as a plane flew overhead.

Dinner and Dancing

Natalie and Matt’s guests were treated to a lovely meal on the Veranda of Magnolia’s historic home before heading to an evening of sweet, heartfelt toasts by friends and family and a first dance to “I was made for loving you”  by Tori Kelly and Ed Sheeran.  The evening came to a close with a candlelit bubble sendoff and cupcakes for all the guests to take home.  Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Berson as well as sweet Wallace.

Teal and Gold Peacock bridal shoesBride getting into her dressPeacock feather invitationsTeal and gold bridesmaid dressesHandwritten vowsBride putting pearl necklace onGrooms Details with orchidFirst look at pineapple fountain


Venue Getting Ready: Planter’s Inn

Venue Ceremony and Reception: Magnolia Plantation

Wedding Planner: Loluma

Floral Design: Loluma

Rentals: Snyder

Bar Service: Spike

Caterer: Gourmet Bay Catering

Hair and Makeup: Wedding Hair By Charlotte

Ceremony Music: James Barr

DJ: Lee Edwards Entertainment

Cake: Ashley Bakery

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